NOVEMBER 14, 2020 ERITREA HUB ETHIOPIANEWS

Two separate reports.

The first from Bloomberg

Ethiopia Withdraws Thousands of Troops From Neighboring Somalia

By

Simon Marks

13 November 2020, 14:13 GMT

  • Soldiers being redeployed to help offensive in Tigray region
  • U.S. president has also announced plans for troop withdrawal

Ethiopia pulled back thousands of troops who’ve been helping Somalia’s government fight an Islamist insurgency, according to three people familiar with the matter, raising concerns of a security vacuum in the war-torn nation.

Their departure from Somalia comes as federal soldiers continue to battle forces loyal to the ruling party in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump told top advisers he’s also considering extracting U.S. troops from Somalia.

Ethiopia is redeploying about 3,000 troops to help with the Tigray offensive, the people said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media. The troops being withdrawn are Ethiopian National Defence Force soldiers and don’t fall under the command of the 5,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia, they said.

A spokesman for the Office of the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia referred all questions to Ethiopian authorities. Redwan Hussein, state foreign minister and spokesperson for the Emergency Task Force in charge of the conflict, did not respond to questions on Ethiopia’s bilateral troops with Somalia.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants have waged an insurgency in Somalia since 2006 in a bid to impose their version of Islamic law. The group continues to carry out suicide bombings and other attacks in the Horn of Africa country despite being the target of frequent U.S. drone strikes, and the Somali government retains a weak grip on power.

The U.S. has 650 to 800 troops in Somalia, according to the U.S. Africa Command, including special forces that are helping train Somalia’s army.

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Source: Addis Standard

NEWS: ROCKET ATTACKS DAMAGE AIRPORT AREAS IN BAHIR DAR, GONDER CITIES, GOVERNMENT BLAMES TPLF

 addisstandard /  November 14, 2020 / 

 

Bahir Dar airport, known as Ginbot 20 Airport, is located some 8 km west of the city,
near the Lake Tana; while Gonder’s Atse Tewodros Airport is located
some 18 km south of of the city.

Addis Abeba, November 14/2020 – The federal government said a rocket was fired “in the late hours of November 13, 2020 towards Bahir Dar and Gondar cities. As a result, the airport areas have sustained damages.”

statement published on “Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check”a newly opened Facebook page by the federal government, blamed “the TPLF junta” for the attack and said it “is repairing and utilizing the last of the weaponry within its arsenals. This is indicative of TPLF’s last resort attempts to maintain control,” the government said.

Last night the several residents of the two cities posted updates on social media that there were explosions and exchanges of gun fires in the cities. Bahir Dar airport, known as Ginbot 20 Airport, is located some 8 km west of the city, near the Lake Tana; while Gonder’s Atse Tewodros Airport is located some 18 km south of of the city.

The Amhara regional government communication Affairs office released a statement that although “there were explosions in Bahir Dar, special place called Mecod and in Gonder city, special place called Azezo, security forces have put them under control within few minutes.” It also said there were no power cuts in both cities and both cities were peaceful and added the incident would be fully investigated.

The Amhara regional state broadcaster AMMA quoted the regional government as saying that “because the enemy is using its full force to inflict terror acts [and] cognizant of the war we are in, communities should calmly safeguard themselves and their neighborhoods vigilantly.” Without giving details, it also cautioned the people in the regional state that “similar acts may occur again.”

Without giving specifics about the said rocket attacks, a statement published on the official Facebook page of TPLF said that it has placed the “Northern Command” of the national defense forces under its control and will use “the force of its weapons to wipe out enemies” of the people of Tigray.

The federal government said the “details of the incident is currently under investigation and further details will be provided accordingly.”

“In Ethiopia, fighting in Tigray yesterday moved closer to Shimelba refugee camp – which hosts 6,500 Eritrean refugees – raising concerns of mass displacement from the camp. UNHCR is making preparations to receive refugees who have already begun arriving in Hitsats camp, 50 kilometres away, and is considering further relocation options in the region.”

Source: UNHCR

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch  to whom quoted text may be attributed  at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Ethiopians, who fled their homes due to ongoing fighting, are pictured at a refugee camp in the Hamdait border area of Sudan’s eastern Kassala state on November 12, 2020.   © AFP

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is extremely concerned about the worsening crisis in northern Ethiopia where ongoing clashes between the Ethiopian federal government and Tigray forces are driving thousands of people to flee, more than half of them children.

Since the violence began early November, more than 14,500 children, women and men have fled into Sudan in search of safety, overwhelming the current capacity to provide aid. Meanwhile, services for 96,000 Eritrean refugees inside Tigray have been seriously disrupted, with reports of growing number of Ethiopians becoming displaced internally.

UNHCR calls on all parties to respect the safety and security for all civilians in Tigray.

In Ethiopia, fighting in Tigray yesterday moved closer to Shimelba refugee camp – which hosts 6,500 Eritrean refugees – raising concerns of mass displacement from the camp. UNHCR is making preparations to receive refugees who have already begun arriving in Hitsats camp, 50 kilometres away, and is considering further relocation options in the region.

General living and operating conditions inside Tigray are becoming more difficult with power outages and food and fuel supplies becoming extremely scarce. Communications have been cut off creating an information black out.

The numbers of refugees seeking safety in neighbouring Sudan are increasing rapidly – with over 4,000 crossing the border in just one day. The majority have crossed at Hamdayet border point in Kassala State and others at Lugdi in Gedaref State.

People are arriving with very few belongings indicating they fled in a hurry. Arriving children are exhausted and scared. The majority originate from Humera inside Tigray, with others coming from the neighbouring towns of Rawyan and Dima.

UNHCR and its partners are ramping up assistance, but the numbers of new arrivals are far outpacing the capacity on the ground.

The transit center at Hamdayet border crossing has a capacity to accommodate 300 refugees, but is already overwhelmed with 6,000 people. Sanitation facilities are insufficient, impacting hygiene.

Those crossing through Lugdi are temporarily hosted at a transit centre in a site called Village 8, located 35 kilometres away from the border. Hot meals are being provided with support from the World Food Programme and Muslim Aid. Local communities are also generously supporting the refugees with food.

The Sudan Red Crescent Society has deployed medical staff and essential medicines, to Hamdayet to conduct health screenings, including for COVID-19, with plans to strengthen health support in the coming days.

As the numbers grow, the Government has approved the establishment of a refugee camp at Um Rakuba, 80 kilometres from the border, with a capacity to host up to 20,000 people. Additional sites are currently being identified.

Ethiopia, Eritrea and the war in Tigray

Martin Plaut

The conflict in the northern Ethiopian state of Tigray is a little more than a week old, but already the casualties are mounting, with the war threatening the future of the region.

Fighting appears to be particularly severe in the West, with the government https://www.fanabc.com/english/defense-force-captures-humera-airport/" style="box-sizing: inherit; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(34, 170, 221); text-decoration: underline;">claiming to have taken Humera airport. All transport to and from Tigray have been cut and humanitarian agencies are deeply worried about the fate of tens of thousands of refugees, internally displaced people and the poor – all of whom rely on food aid and other supplies.

Some 10,000 refugees have already fled to Sudan – up to 200,000 may follow.

Ethiopian refugees crossing into Sudan WFP

Information from the region is severely curtailed. Internet and telecommunications were severed on 4th November, as the crisis was escalating.

Ethiopian media are under severe government pressure about what they cover, and the editor of the Addis Standard newspaper has been arrested.

One thing appears clear. This is unlikely to be a brief conflict, or produce an easy victory for Prime Minister Abiy. As Reuters reported, the Tigrayans will be no push over. “The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which governs the region, is battle-hardened from both the 1998-2000 war with Eritrea and the guerrilla war to topple dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991. TPLF forces and militia allies number up to 250,000 men and possess significant hardware, experts say.”

Appeals from the international community –  from the UN Secretary General  and, the European Union – have so far gained little traction.

Ethiopia has ruled out dialogue or mediation, setting tough conditions for peace.

Redwan Hussein, spokesman of a newly-established State of Emergency Task Force for the Tigray conflict, Ethiopia said that peace talks are only possible with Tigray’s local government if military hardware is destroyed, federal officials are released from custody and leaders of the region are arrested.

President Isaias’s war aims 

If there is only limited hard news from Ethiopia there has been silence from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s key ally – Eritrea. The government tolerates no independent journalism of any kind. The Committee to Protect Journalists rates it the most censored nation in the world. Even diplomats are restricted in their movements – requiring special permission to leave the capital, Asmara.

So what can be said for certain?

Firstly, that Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afwerki have transformed relations between the two governments. Prime Minister Abiy’s historic visit to Asmara in July 2018 ended nearly two decades of hostility that followed the bitter border war between the two countries (1988 – 2000). Within days President Isaias was visiting Addis Ababa.

Crowds lined the streets during both visits and President Isaias was ecstatic about his welcome. “Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now. History is being made as we speak.” President Isaias reopened his country’s embassy in Ethiopia and on 18 July Eritrea and Ethiopia resumed commercial airline flights for the first time in two decades.

Since then there have been regular bilateral visits by both leaders. In just over two years the two leaders have made nine official visits to each other’s capitals, or gone on joint delegations to other states – Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  Further meetings have been held by senior officials from both countries.

The most recent visits were the most important.

PM Abiy at Sawa military training camp

In July this year Prime Minister Abiy was taken to Eritrea’s main training base at Sawa.

It was the first time a foreign leader was given this honour.

He inspected the troops and saw a parade of Eritrea’s military hardware.

Then in October President Isaias was given a tour of the Head Quarter of the Ethiopian Air Force in Bishoftu.

This is as far as certainty takes us, but it is not the end of information flows.

Eritreans have widespread links throughout the world, with millions having fled into exile since the war of independence was first launched in the 1960’s. The diaspora is strong and they talk to their friends and relatives back home. So what are they saying?

Just prior to the conflict erupting in Tigray that President Isaias brought his closest political and military advisers together for an intense discussion on how to proceed. The president told them that the country had to accept that it has a small and not very viable economy and a lengthy Red Sea coast, which Eritrean cannot patrol on its own. He is reported to have suggested that some sort of “union” with Ethiopia might be possible, at least in terms of economic co-operation and maritime security.

In so doing Isaias appears to be echoing Prime Minister Abiy’s grandiose dream of re-establishing the old empire-state of Ethiopia. This idea is not as far-fetched as it would appear, despite the fact that Isaias led Eritrea’s 30 year war of independence from Ethiopia.

Eritrea’s current role in the war

There are numerous informal reports that young Eritreans are being rounded up as conscripts. National Service is not voluntary and the conscripts are forced to participate indefinitely.

Eritreans in the diaspora speak of children picked up and transported without warning to remote locations along the Ethiopian border. Members of the Eritrean opposition are deeply worried about the conflict and have issued an appeal for the international community to act now to halt the bloodshed. petition_stop the war in Ethiopia_generic_Nov-08-2020

There have been indications of Eritrean troop movements along the border with Tigray. Eritrean villagers report that some Ethiopian troops from the Northern Command that was taken over by the Tigrayans had crossed the border. Local people are said to be asked to feed them, until the Eritrean military can meet their needs. Ethiopian spokesman, Redwan Hussein, confirmed federal troops had been forced to retreat over the border to Eritrea before regrouping and returning to fight the Tigray forces.

But – until recently – there were no confirmed reports of serious fighting between Eritrean and Tigrayan forces. This led the veteran Horn analyst, Rene Lefort to question in https://twitter.com/rene_renelefort/status/1324604117969444866?s=20" style="box-sizing: inherit; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(34, 170, 221); text-decoration: underline;">a Tweet why this was the case. “A joint operation of the federal and Eritrean forces, simultaneously from North and South, was expected. Apparently, nothing in the North. Why? Has Issayas realized that the shift of the Northern Command has totally upset the balances of forces? Better now to keep a low profile?”

On Tuesday 10th November the leader of Ethiopia’s Tigray region accused Eritrea of sending soldiers over the border and attacking local forces after the federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive against the region last week.

In a statement on local TV, Debretsion Gebremichael gave no evidence for what would be a major escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia and Reuters was unable to confirm it. “Since yesterday, the army of (Eritrean leader) Isaias (Afwerki) have crossed the country’s boundary and invaded,” he said. “They were attacking via Humera using heavy arms.”

This was denied by Eritrea. “This is an internal conflict. We are not part of the conflict,” Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed said by telephone.

One thing appears clear. This is unlikely to be a brief conflict, or produce an easy victory for Prime Minister Abiy. As Reuters reported, the Tigrayans will be no push over. “The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which governs the region, is battle-hardened from both the 1998-2000 war with Eritrea and the guerrilla war to topple dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991. TPLF forces and militia allies number up to 250,000 men and possess significant hardware, experts say.”

Meanwhile, Ethiopia has ruled out dialogue or mediation – instead setting tough conditions for peace.

Redwan Hussein, spokesman of a newly-established State of Emergency Task Force for the Tigray conflict, Ethiopia said that peace talks are only possible with Tigray’s local government if military hardware is destroyed, federal officials are released from custody and leaders of the region are arrested.

What stand will Sudan take?

The role of Sudan in the Tigray conflict could be critical.

During Tigray’s long war against the authorities in Addis Ababa, that ended in the Tigray People’s Liberation Movement toppling the Ethiopian government in 1991, Sudan offered a secure rear base. Arms, ammunition and food reached the Tigray rebels from Sudan.

What role will the Sudanese play in this conflict?

The country has already begun to receive thousands of refugees. The UN refugee agency has begun to establish new camps to receive them. The director of the UNHCR office in the border city of Khashm al-Qirba, Mohamed Rafiq Nasri, announced the UN’s decision to provide special planes and vehicles to transport Ethiopian refugees from the No. 8 Village, Hamdayit and the border strip directly to a new camp set up in the Um Rakoba area of Gadaref state.

Politically, the Sudanese government is coming under pressure from Eritrea.

https://i1.wp.com/eritreahub.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Eritrea-FM-meet-Sudanese-leader.jpeg?resize=300%2C231&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/eritreahub.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Eritrea-FM-meet-Sudanese-leader.jpeg?resize=768%2C592&ssl=1 768w" sizes="(max-width: 484px) 100vw, 484px" data-recalc-dims="1" style="box-sizing: inherit; border: 0px; max-width: 100%; height: auto; float: left; margin-right: 1.5em; margin-bottom: 1em;">

President Isaias sent a delegation to Khartoum on Wednesday.

Eritrea’s Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab met President of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdulfattah al-Burhan, as well as Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.

As ever, little about what was discussed has been revealed, but the visit – the latest of many – was no accident.

It is likely that Eritrea is attempting to head off access to resources for the Tigrayans through Sudan.

On the other hand it should not be forgotten that Sudan’s traditional relationships are stronger with Egypt than with any other country. Egypt and Ethiopia are locked in a conflict over Ethiopia’s dam on the Blue Nile. Will Cairo attempt to use the current conflict in Tigray to their advantage?

While Tigray may have sufficient troops and heavy weaponry to hold off an Ethiopian assault, the longer term is more difficult for them. Fuel and ammunition will be needed, if Mekelle is going to keep its military supplied. There are few alternative routes, other than Sudan.

The Horn of Africa transformed

When President Isaias visited Addis Ababa in July 2018 to meet with Prime Minister Abiy he made remarks that left most Eritreans speechless. He told Abiy “you are our leader” and announced happily to the crowd: “I’ve given him all responsibility of leadership and power”.

Is the current conflict in Tigray the logical outcome of this vision? Ethiopia is moving to eliminate President Isaias’s sworn enemies in Tigray, but at what cost?

The threat to Ethiopia itself is real and immediate. As senior American experts and former diplomats have warned, the current conflict could lead to “the fragmentation of Ethiopia would be the largest state collapse in modern history.”

As Kjetil Tronvoll, of Bjørknes University in Norway put it: “The conflict between the federal authorities and TPLF might be the straw which breaks the camel’s back.” “You have the potential of a serious, serious weakening of central authorities in Ethiopia. It is an extremely dire situation and I think it is very hard to see that things will return back to normality as it was before the conflict. The divisions are running too deep for that.”

The collapse of the Ethiopian state could allow Isaias an opportunity to reshape the Horn of Africa.

President Isaias is a survivor – shrewd and ruthless.

Is it possible that, despite his close ties with Abiy, that Isaias is keeping his power dry: watching and waiting to see what progress Ethiopian forces make in their offensive against the Tigrayans?

As the next few weeks unfold, we will have a clearer idea of what Eritrea’s role in this conflict will be.

Sudan braces for up to 200,000 fleeing Ethiopia fighting

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 16:36 Written by

Up to 200,000 refugees could pour into Sudan while fleeing the deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, officials said Wednesday, while the first details are emerging of largely cut-off civilians under growing strain.

Source: AP

Sudan braces for up to 200,000 fleeing Ethiopia fighting

Map locates the Tigray area

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Up to 200,000 refugees could pour into Sudan while fleeing the deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, officials said Wednesday, while the first details are emerging of largely cut-off civilians under growing strain. Already at least 6,000 people have crossed the border, including some wounded in the fighting, and the flow is growing quickly.

Inside the Tigray region, long lines have appeared outside bread shops, and supply-laden trucks are stranded at its borders, the United Nations humanitarian chief in the country told The Associated Press in an interview.

“We want to have humanitarian access as soon as possible,” Sajjad Mohammad Sajid said. “Fuel and food are needed urgently.” Up to 2 million people in Tigray have a “very, very difficult time,” he said late Tuesday, including hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

Communications remain almost completely severed with the Tigray region a week after Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a military offensive in response to an alleged attack by regional forces. He insists there will be no negotiations with a regional government he considers illegal until its ruling “clique” is arrested and its well-stocked arsenal is destroyed.

Reports grew of the targeting of ethnic Tigrayans across Ethiopia, the Tigray Communication Affairs Bureau said in a Facebook post. Abiy has warned against ethnic profiling.

The administration of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, announced rallies in support of the federal government’s measures there and in other cities in the Oromia and Amhara regions Thursday, along with a blood drive for the Ethiopian army.

Britain and the African Union have urged Abiy for an immediate de-escalation as the conflict threatens to destabilize the strategic but vulnerable Horn of Africa region. The United States did not immediately give details on any outreach.

The standoff leaves nearly 900 aid workers in the Tigray region from the U.N. and other groups struggling to contact the outside world with pleas for help. “Nine U.N. agencies, almost 20 NGOs, all depending on two offices” with the means to communicate, Sajid said.

In addition, more than 1,000 people of different nationalities are stuck in the region, he said. That includes tourists. Countries urgently are seeking their evacuation.

With airports in Tigray closed, roads blocked, internet service cut off and even banks no longer operating, it “makes our life very difficult in terms of ensuring almost 2 million people receive humanitarian assistance,” Sajid said.

There is no sign of a lull in the fighting that has included multiple airstrikes by federal forces and hundreds of people reported dead on each side.

“It looks like, unfortunately, this may not be something which can be resolved by any party in a week or two,” Sajid said. “It looks like it’s going to be a protracted conflict, which is a huge concern from the point of view of protection of civilians.”

Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray’s regional government, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, blame each other for starting the conflict. Each regards the other as illegal. The TPLF dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for years before Abiy came to office in 2018 but has since broken away while accusing the prime minister’s administration of targeting and marginalizing its officials.

Ethiopia’s air force chief, Maj. Gen. Yilma Merdasa, asserted to reporters that forces had destroyed weapons depots, gas stations and other targets with “supreme control of the skies.” He said the airstrikes would continue.

It remains difficult for diplomats, experts and others to verify either side’s claims about the fighting. And now some Ethiopian journalists are being arrested, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said, calling it a “worrying development.”

Experts have compared this to an inter-state conflict, with each side heavily armed and well-trained. The Tigray region has an estimated quarter-million various armed fighters, and of the Ethiopian military’s six mechanized divisions, four are based in Tigray. That’s a legacy of Ethiopia’s long border war with Eritrea, which made peace after Abiy came to power but remains at bitter odds with the TPLF.

The Tigray president on Tuesday accused Eritrea of attacking his region at the request of Ethiopia, saying that “the war has now progressed to a different stage,” he said. Eritrean officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Under growing pressure, at least 6,000 Ethiopian refugees have crossed the now-closed border into Sudan, the state-run SUNA news agency there reported. The agency, citing unidentified officials, said that over 200,000 Ethiopians were expected to cross into Sudan in the coming days.

A Sudanese official urged U.N. agencies to speed up their response in the provinces of Kassala and Qadarif along the Ethiopian border.

“More and more people, including wounded from the operations there, are still coming. The numbers are increasing rapidly. There are lots of children and women,” Al-Sir Khalid, the head of the refugee agency in Kassala, told the AP. “They are arriving very tired and exhausted. They are hungry and thirsty since they have walked long dispenses on rugged terrain.”

Local authorities are overwhelmed and the situation on the ground is deteriorating rapidly, he said.

November 09, 2020

9 November 2020, Addis Ababa: The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat is following with concern the escalation of military confrontation in Ethiopia.

The Chairperson reaffirms the African Union’s firm attachment to the constitutional order, territorial integrity, unity and national sovereignty of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to ensure stability in the country and in the Region.

In this regard, the Chairperson appeals for the immediate cessation of hostilities and calls on parties to respect human rights and ensure the protection of civilians. He further urges the parties to engage in dialogue to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the country.

The Chairperson reiterates the continued readiness of the African Union to support an inter-Ethiopian effort in the pursuit of peace and stability.

Source=https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20201109/statement-auc-chairperson-situation-ethiopia

Update: The Tigray war

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 12:34 Written by

With internet and telecommunications to Tigray cut, and journalists under severe restrictions in Ethiopia, it is difficult to get a clear picture of what is taking place. There are no independent journalists reporting from Eritrea. However, these are some of the latest reports.

  • The African Union has (somewhat belatedly) called for a ceasefire and negotiations. “The chairperson (Moussa Faki Mahamat) appeals for the immediate cessation of hostilities and calls on parties to respect human rights and ensure the protection of civilians,” the AU bloc said in a statement, also urging talks.
  • Meanwhile, leaders in Tigray have accused Eritrea of sending soldiers over the border and attacking local forces after the federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive against the region last week. In a statement on local TV, Debretsion Gebremichael gave no evidence for what would be a major escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia and Reuters was unable to confirm it. “Since yesterday, the army of (Eritrean leader) Isaias (Afwerki) have crossed the country’s boundary and invaded,” he said. “They were attacking via Humera using heavy arms.”
  • As Kjetil Tronvoll rightly observed, if confirmed this has internationalised the conflict – turning a civil war into a regional war.
  • Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the end of military operations in Ethiopia’s north is “coming within reach.”
  • The Ethiopian National Defence Force spokesman, Lieutenant General Bacha Debele, said that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Shene Group was also fighting the federal military forces in support of the Tigray Special Force in areas including Zalanbessa, Shiraro, Rama, Tsorena and other places.
  • The BBC’s Africa Regional Editor, Mary Harper reports that the head of Sudan’s refugee agency in Kassala says about 3,000 Ethiopians have fled into Sudan to escape the conflict in Tigray.

By 

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Several Ethiopians, including army soldiers, fled the escalating conflict in the restive Tigray region to neighbouring Sudan on Monday, Sudanese state media and residents said.

The flare-up in the northern region bordering Eritrea and Sudan has killed hundreds of people, Ethiopian sources on the government side said, even as the prime minister sought on Monday to reassure the world his nation was not sliding into civil war.

The worsening conflict threatens to destabilise Africa’s second most populous nation, where ethnic conflict has already killed hundreds since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over in 2018.

Four Ethiopian families alongside 30 armed federal army soldiers crossed the border to Sudan’s Al-Luqdi area in the eastern al-Qadarif state on Monday, Sudanese state news agency SUNA reported citing witnesses, adding that the soldiers belong to Amhara tribes.

Large numbers of other fleeing Ethiopians crossed the border to rural areas in al Fashqa region in al-Qadarif state, the agency added.

Local officials in the region are working with the Sudanese Commission of Refugees to prepare a camp to host the fleeing Ethiopian refugees, it said.

Residents living in Sudanese border areas confirmed the report to Reuters.

The local government in al-Qadarif state began closing its border with the Ethiopian regions of Tigray and Amhara on Thursday evening until further notice, in response to the conflict.

Sudan’s Security and Defence Council discussed the developments in Ethiopian on Monday and called all parties to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict, SUNA said.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Nayera Abdallah and Omar Fahmy; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Marguerita Choy

In a statement on local TV, Debretsion Gebremichael gave no evidence for what would be a major escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia and Reuters was unable to confirm it.

“Since yesterday, the army of (Eritrean leader) Isaias (Afwerki) have crossed the country’s boundary and invaded,” he said. “They were attacking via Humera using heavy arms.”

There was no immediate reaction from Eritrea’s government, though its foreign minister told Reuters at the weekend that none of its soldiers had crossed into Ethiopia.

Reporting by Nairobi newsroom; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Duncan Miriri

Yiakl Stop the War Appeal

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement

ይኣክል | كفاية†| Enough

A call to the International Community to stop the war in Ethiopia

XX November 2020

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[insert 1]

Dear [insert 2],

We the undersigned respectfully request that your good offices exert utmost pressure on the Ethiopian Federal Government to solve its internal dispute with the Reginal Government in Tigray peacefully and through dialogue.

The ongoing war in Ethiopia will have a devastating ramification for the Ethiopian people, and the Horn of Africa. It will have serious repercussions on the influx of refugees and internally displaced, which will overwhelm any humanitarian response. It will shatter the Ethiopian economy, which saw the fastest growth in Africa over the last decade.

The conflict has the potential to spill to neighbouring countries. It could have serious repercussions on the influx of refugees from different countries in the Horn of Africa to the West. Moreover, it could result in increased violence and internal displacements, which could overwhelm any humanitarian responses.

The Eritrean Government repeatedly and explicitly has been pronouncing that it would involve itself in Ethiopian issues, whenever necessary. Reports coming from inside Eritrea are indicating that it is already meddling in the ongoing internal conflict in Ethiopia. There have also been sightings of Ethiopian military units inside Eritrean territory. We are deeply concerned that the people of Eritrea could be dragged into a new conflict, which could culminate in the death of tens of thousands of Eritreans. Currently, Ethiopia hosts hundreds of thousands of helpless Eritrean refugees. The escalation of conflict could leave the refugees vulnerable to resentment and hostility. We, therefore, plead with you to exert utmost pressure on the Eritrean leadership to refrain from interfering in Ethiopia’s internal affairs and involving itself in the conflict.

We believe political differences within Ethiopia can and should only be resolved peacefully through dialogue, facilitated by formal and informal institutions within the country and the International Community.

Regarding the yet unresolved border issue between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the international community should encourage the two governments to implement the EBBC’s decisions, stipulated in the Algiers Agreement.

On behalf of the Eritrean People, we the undersigned human rights and civil societies call upon you, [insert 3] and the rest of the international community to intervene to stop this unwarranted and unnecessary war immediately.

We also urge you to call on the Eritrean Government to stop involving in Ethiopia’s internal affairs, and for the Ethiopian Government to withdraw its forces from Eritrea. Thank you.

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – Canada

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – Denmark

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – France

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – South Africa

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – Sweden

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – Switzerland

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – UK

Eritrean Yiakl Mass Movement – USA

Eritrea Focus

Eritrean Women Network – UK

Eritreischer Verein für Demokratie, Kultur und voneinander Lernen e.V. – Germany

Foundation of Human Rights for Eritreans in Holland

Human Rights Concern Eritrea

Release Eritrea

Eritrean Institute of Policy and Strategy

Snitna Eritrean Network Group

 

Brussels, 09/11/2020 – 15:31, UNIQUE ID: 201109_14

Statements by the HR/VP

“Over the past days, I have been holding talks to support efforts to restore peace and political dialogue in Ethiopia.

During my talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, I conveyed the EU’s concern for the risks to the integrity of the country and the stability of the wider region should the current situation endure. In this regard, I have offered the support of the EU for any action contributing to de-escalation of tensions, return to dialogue and securing rule of law throughout Ethiopia.

In talks with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, of Sudan, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and with Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, I renewed the EU’s support to any initiative of IGAD and the African Union to address the situation.

Additional consultations have occurred with other partners in the wider region and will continue.

Stability in the region remains a priority for the European Union.”